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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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support over his deal with the Soviets) was dissolved. Sikorski, assisted
by a number of Socialists and with the full support of the Peasant Party,
together with a few members of the National Democrats, who were
forthwith disowned by their Party, formed a new Cabinet., while a fresh
National Council., composed from his supporters, came into being.
At this crisis in home politics, the control exercised by Polish public
opinion over their Government would have been nil, had it not been for
their Press. It is necessary here to explain to the reader that, among the
Polish people wherever they are, the Press has an exceptional influence
on political questions and in public life. This is mainly a result of the
nation's struggle for freedom which had lasted for over a hundred years.
No Press in the world can compare with the Polish Press in this respect.
An article published by any well-known political writer is frequently of
greater value in the eyes of the public, and of much greater importance,
than the speech of any Minister. And Sikorski was to find the majority
of the Polish Press both in Britain and in America from the first bitterly
opposed to his policy of concessions.
British censorship limited its scope officially to security matters, but
the Polish Government now requested their newspapers to present all
editorials for political censorship. By this method the Government was
able to keep a restraining hand on the tone of the Press, particularly
where it concerned the question of Polish-Russian relations. As Russian
pressure on the Polish Government increased, so the latter warned the
Polish Press to exercise restraint in their views concerning Eastern Poland.
A sharp reaction was inevitable (they had received warnings from British
censorship on this point as well), particularly as both the English and
Soviet Press in Britain were, at the same time, freely expressing their
views on this topic. To quote an instance, after the Polish Press had
been compulsorily silenced over the defence of their own country1*, Sir
Stafford Cripps, the former Ambassador to Moscow and now Deputy
Prime Minister, stated openly in an interview with the American Press
that the Polish territories occupied by Russia in 1939-1940 should belong
to that country, although some compromise concerning Poland would be
desirable.* At the same time the Scotsman (March n) was writing " it
is no' mystery that Russia is tending to finally incorporate the territories
embraced by her frontiers of 1941."
During the first period of the Russo-German war, which proved so
dangerous to the Soviets, when the hope of their survival had seemed
remote, and the triumphant foe was calculating how many more weeks
the Red Army would be able to hold out, Stalin had showed evidence of
his good-will in all possible directions, and had been ready to arrive at a
full understanding, even with the Poles. Since the final issue of the war
on the Eastern front seemed then to be very dubious, Moscow's demands
* Life, March 7th, 1942.    ~      "